ExxonMobil has applied to pre-qualify for four blocks offshore Liberia, under the current direct negotiation process.
The Liberia Petroleum Regulatory Authority (LPRA) announced the interest from Exxon today. The company has expressed interest in LB-15, LB-16, LB-22 and LB-24 in the Liberia Basin, the LPRA said.
The blocks are south of the Liberian coast stretching from Monrovia to Buchanan.
Applying for pre-qualification allows Exxon to negotiate a production-sharing contract (PSC) for the blocks, it noted.
“We filed a pre-qualification application with the Liberia Petroleum Regulatory Authority for offshore blocks. As a matter of practice, we don’t comment on commercial strategy,” said an Exxon official.
Exxon has explored in Liberia in the past. It acquired the rights to Block 13 in 2013 and drilled the Mesurado-1 well in 2016.
The Mesurado well was targeting Late Cretaceous Santonian age sands. It found 118 metres of net reservoir quality sands but did not find hydrocarbons. Exxon plugged and abandoned the well. In 2017, the company relinquished its Liberia interests.
Liberia opened 33 offshore blocks in the Harper and Liberia basins for direct negotiations in 2021. The country opted for direct negotiations – over a bid round – because of investor appetite for frontier basins, it said.
It did launch a bid round, offering nine blocks in the Harper Basin, in 2020. Investor interest was poor, in part at least because of COVID-19. In 2021, the LPRA said it would shift to direct negotiations, with an initial deadline of May 2022. By December 2022, the regulator opted to drop its deadline.
TGS has multi-client data on the acreage on offer, in the Harper and Liberia basins. The company began reprocessing 5,100 square km of 3D seismic in May on the northeast of the Liberia Basin. It predicted it would have results in the second quarter of 2023.
Updated at 2:00 pm with comment from Exxon.